Key volunteer plays major role backstage
Loi Heldt in her garden. Photo by Bub Bishop.
While neither actor nor musician, Loi Heldt plays major roles in both artistic endeavors through her job as executive director of Chamber Music Amici and as a volunteer with Fred Crafts’ Radio Redux.
“My strength is from the organizational and the business side,” she says. “I can be involved in that way.”
Heldt found herself eager for new challenges about seven years ago when the chamber music group was just getting off the ground at Springfield’s Richard E. Wildish Community Theater, where Radio Redux also was performing.
Radio Redux was looking for volunteers, and Heldt thought it would be an opportunity to learn something new. She began volunteering for Radio Redux three years ago.
“Fred’s idea, what he was doing, was so unique. It was fun to me,” Heldt says. “I just wanted to be a part of it, with whatever he needed help with.”
In the years since, Heldt has attended to myriad behind-the-scenes tasks for Radio Redux, from program design and printing, to database management, establishing the box office and researching the process to gain tax-exempt status.
By becoming involved in Radio Redux, she made a new group of friends and was immersed in a new range of entertainment and art.
“I am not an actor, but they see me as part of the group. They are so gracious. It’s a fun group to be part of,” she says. “It’s interesting to see how the whole thing works—watching Fred direct, watching how they all interact, how they have different ideas about what might work. And how they incorporate the sound effects. By show time, they’re running pretty darn smoothly.”
Says Radio Redux founder Fred Crafts, “Loi brought to Radio Redux a wide range of skills on the business side that shored up our operation and enabled us to expand in a multitude of ways. We wouldn’t be where we are today without her. She’s indispensible.”
Heldt grew up in Eugene, attending Willamette High School, Lane Community College and the University of Oregon, where she earned a degree in school and community health education.
A lifelong fitness devotee, Heldt ran track at LCC and the UO. In 1982 she set an LCC record that still stands in the high jump: 5 feet, 9 inches. She formerly served on the advisory board of the Emerald Valley Track Club and currently is an avid bicycle commuter who enjoys occasional long-distance rides.
While Heldt disavows any personal artistic talent, she finds a creative outlet in quilting and in fashioning fabric-covered boxes — which, like her quilts, are carefully detailed works of art.
Many of the dozens of quilts she has stitched over more than 20 years have been donated to fund-raising efforts for local arts groups and schools. Most of her fabric boxes, which she makes in large number, also are donated or given as gifts.
She recalls donating her first quilt to a fund-raiser for the Oregon Mozart Players, later to find it framed and prominently displayed in a business she frequented.
Other of her quilts are destined to be heirlooms, tailored specifically for her husband, Bruce; daughter, Tory, 21; and son Aaron, 18. Several are in production and many others are in use at the family home off Donald Street in south Eugene.
“This is what I do. I’m creative. I call it creative,” she says modestly. “It’s very rewarding to see something finished.”
Adds Fred, “With Radio Redux having many tasks to accomplish, it is so reassuring to have Loi eager to jump in and get them done. She’s aces with us.”
— Story by Bub Bishop. Bub retired as a former reporter for The Register-Guard.
Left: Loi designs and crafts fabric boxes, donating them or giving as gifts. Right: one of her colorful quilts.